Because they are complex (and filled with people who tend to be quite complex themselves), organizations of any size are notoriously difficult to change. The assumptions, unknowns, and hidden dynamics normally overwhelm even the best change plans.
To change an organization, let’s forget about big project plans. Instead :
- Let’s study the current situation and answer the question, “Where are we?”
- Next, we describe our desired outcome, that is, “Where do we want to be?” Let’s ignore for now any notions about if we can or how we will do it.
- Given where we are and and where we want to be, let’s select the best next step and try it.
- Let’s Measure results.
- And we then repeat from step 1 until done.
This may seem way too simplistic. Yet it works. Here’s why:
- People will trust–and therefore support–this approach more because we are making real progress. Instead of over-promising results, getting distracted by the next “flavor of the month” idea, or struggling to prop up a rigid, faulty, big plan, we are steadily delivering.
- Instead of having to justify huge change budgets, we justify continuous, small investments.
- Though any of the small “next steps” may fail, the damage would be small.
- With each loop through this process, we gain precious learning. We get to test our assumptions. We correct our course as we learn.
Give it a try.
In your corner,
PS: Is there no room for big projects and planning? Sure, as long as you can know that the desired project goal and underlying business environment will remain, unchanged, accurate, and relevant throughout your project.